A holiday like the 4th of July gives us all a strong and lasting sense of community -- maybe a sense of pride to be part of something better. Maybe it’s a reminder that America is full of many opportunities, and that nothing in this country comes to those who don’t work hard to succeed. This holiday reminds us to keep persevering, never stop learning, and to help others rise. As a recent college graduate, I realize how diverse a community can be, and that those of us who work hard, aim for improvement, and strive to keep learning - because we are free to do so - are the ones who succeed. A community is full of people from different walks of life. Even though we are all unique, there are similarities we share too. We also become inspired in our own way. What inspires me to reach my goals are my peers. As an intern this summer at Xactly, I work with professionals who were just like me at some point; interning in a professional environment to learn, gain experience, and get a better idea whether the career path is a great fit. After speaking with Brooke Rhoades, a former intern and now Human Resource Representative at Xactly, I learned that if you’re dedicated to your work, and are eager to show up each day, no matter how challenging something may be, you can achieve anything you set your mind to. Other employees have shared their journey coming to Xactly, and I’m inspired because it shows that taking risks, and embracing change, even if you don’t know what the outcome of those actions may be, can occur at any time in your professional career. Before beginning a career in the corporate world, Cheryl Fujii, Marketing Campaigns Manager at Xactly, worked as a teacher. After being introduced to a different profession, she decided to explore a new walk of life. Pursuing a specific career doesn’t mean being stuck for the rest of your life, in fact, it gives people the opportunity to learn more about themselves by doing things they never anticipated doing. Similarly, Erik Charles took various career paths prior to working at Xactly. He was involved in educational marketing, management consulting, human resources, and education before becoming the Vice President of Product Marketing at Xactly. It is common, and often encouraged, to explore different careers. Knowing that I share similar experiences with professionals who were once in my shoes inspires me to strive for a career that provides me with a sense of purpose, challenges me, and gives me the opportunity to improve each day. Although this career may not be clear to me right away, I am learning more each day and am excited to know who I am yet to become. There are many paths that I may take in my journey to be who and what I want to become. I can choose to never stop learning, and changing lives through my work. I can set goals and accomplish them. I am inspired to learn more from the people around me, and hope that one day, I can help others rise and be an inspiration to them as well. A quote by John C. Maxwell states, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way”. This statement resonates with me, because you can’t bring others on a journey if you don’t know where you are going or how you are going to get there yourself. My peers at Xactly have inspired me with their stories and encourage me to do my best no matter what I am faced with. Now that I’ve shared what inspires me as an intern, I encourage you to reflect on what inspires you on this 4th of July - and I urge you to be grateful for whatever that may be!